Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The short version: I had some further medical drama, but I'm feeling much better now, and apart from the cyst thing, I think I'm past it.

The long version:

I was feeling better after that week or so of drama, and then a few weeks later, I went to the OB for a follow-up, expecting to talk about whether or not it was wise to start trying to conceive again, given this weird possibly-migrainey stuff that was going on.  Instead I found out that the ovarian cyst I wasn't worried about hadn't gone away on its own as was hoped, and might in fact need surgery.  If I didn't want to get pregnant, said the OB, he'd want to leave it alone and keep an eye on it, but he didn't want me getting pregnant and then having the cyst do something wacky and need removing while I was pregnant, making the surgery risky to the fetus.  Here's the fun part: if I have the surgery, it's likely I'll lose the ovary, reducing my fertility by about a third.  Great.  We agreed to give it eight weeks to resolve on its own, still a distinct possibility, and re-assess after another ultrasound. 

I found this extremely dispiriting. 

Then I had another week of weirdness, this time bouts of extreme nausea with anxiety and what I would call general low mood.  In retrospect, I'm pretty sure this was a dire case of PMS, but at the time, it felt like more strange and very unpleasant symptoms of something that none of my doctors could identify let alone fix. 

I canceled a road trip I was supposed to take with Ben because I was afraid of getting dizzy or heaven-knows-what-else while on the road a hundred miles from home, alone in the car with my toddler.  As it turned out, I felt fine that week, but I was happy with my decision: much better, I thought, to be thwarted by feeling fine at home than by feeling like hell far away from home.

I saw my GP again, and she thought the whole thing at this point might just be anxiety born of so much medical drama.  She told me to stop taking notes on all my symptoms, and advised I start an SSRI.  I didn't like the SSRI plan, so we met in the middle with a low dose of Valium.  I also thought the anxiety diagnosis was wrong and more than a tidge dismissive, but at that point I was open to trying almost anything, so I took the Valium and put away my notes and hoped for the best.

I felt better once my period started.  Which supported my growing notion that everything had to do with hormones.  I took C.'s advice and went to an acupuncturist.  I took my own advice and started yoga, thinking that every step I could take to make myself all-around more healthy would help whatever this nonsense was, too.  I stopped taking the Valium after a day or two: I wasn't feeling so anxious, and the Valium just made me tired and depressed.

I went to another OB for a second opinion.  He agreed with me that apart from the crazy brain stuff at first, the second round of weirdness sounded very much like extreme PMS, and that that was not abnormal for the few cycles after a pregnancy, even a short-term one.  He was also much more optimistic about keeping my ovary if we had to operate on the cyst, and more optimistic about the cyst generally.  (I liked him a lot, and his practice is also about twenty-five minutes nearer to me than my current OB's -- and he shares his practice with three midwives, which I like, too.  So I'm thinking I'm going to change practices.)

So here I am.  I've had a few sessions of acupuncture and have been taking Chinese herbs as prescribed.  I've been getting out and walking as well as doing yoga once a week.  Who knows whether any of that made a difference, or whether time was the thing, but I just sailed through PMS last week with nothing worse than some lower back pain.  Pain -- so uncomplicated! so easy to treat!  And now that my period has started and the pain has let up considerably, I'm not even afraid that the pain is a symptom of some other dire whatnot.

The cyst is still there, of course.  (Unless it's not -- I won't know until the ultrasound at the end of this month.)  But now that the mystery symptoms seem to have tapered off and been proven out to my satisfaction anyway as hormonal aberrations of post-pregnancy, I feel equipped to handle the cyst, even if it means surgery.  My native unflappability has returned, for the most part.

There's still the "slightly abnormal" EEG, too.  I saw my GP again last week, and she and I agreed that it made sense to wait a while, until I'm more sure of feeling normal otherwise, before going back to the neuro for the follow-up he wanted, which is another EEG, only with my brain stressed by a night of not sleeping.  I'm choosing not to worry about it.  For one thing, he said they treat symptoms, not tests, so as long as I continue to feel fine, they consider me fine.  I feel fine.  But I'm not eager to learn anything more about how not-fine I might be under the surface.  So I'm happy to put that testing off until after the cyst thing is resolved.  One category of bad news at a time, please.

I downloaded a bunch of video from a tape onto my computer this weekend, and a couple minutes were from February.  The video is of Ben, of course, but I'm in the background, wearing woolly slippers and a sweater.  Just turned 37.  Pregnant.  Blissfully unaware of all the crazy to come.


Leah_the_Nosher said...

I conceived and carried to term 2 babies (whom you know and love) with just one ovary. Dave's mom had his sister with only a 1/4 of an ovary. Any OB who's panicking you with elective surgery for a "what if" is not worth your time.

If you want more info on cysts/PCOS, etc, S. had one, and I can give you my whole spiel.

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joven said...

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joven said...

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